Tony Cokes selected for the 34th São Paulo Biennial: Though It's Dark, Still I Sing

Tony Cokes, Untitled (m.j.: the symptom), 2020. HD video, color, sound. 40:47 minutes

Tony Cokes

Though it’s dark, still I sing

34th São Paulo Biennial

Parque Ibirapuera, Portão 3

September 4 – December 5, 2021

Artist Tony Cokes has been selected for inclusion in the 34th São Paulo Biennial, Faz escuro mas eu canto [Though it's dark, still I sing].

The title of the biennial is a line of verse by the Amazonian poet Thiago de Mello, published in 1965. Through the use of this verse, the 34th Bienal recognizes the urgency of the problems that challenge life in our current world while asserting the necessity of art as a field of encounter, resistance, rupture, and transformation.

The included works by Tony Cokes consist of videos in which texts are presented on monochromatic or abstract backgrounds, accompanied by music, usually from the broad universe of pop. In many cases, the texts analyze and contextualize the music itself, or the musical genre it belongs to, intertwining music history with concerns of a broader nature, where cultural, political, racial, and social spheres converge. In other works, such as those from the series Evil (2001-present), Cokes addresses the concept of evil in contemporary society. The artist juxtaposes statements from various sources (from speeches by political leaders to stand-up comedy sketches, pop lyrics, and academic texts) to stress the way the media levels discourses, confuses the production of meaning, and makes certain languages and events either visible or invisible.

For more information, please visit the São Paulo Biennial's website.

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